31 Days of Hallowe’en 2022, Day 19: Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It [2020]

I love seeing movies from countries for the first time, especially if it’s a country I’ve never visited before. So now I can cross “Watch a film from Kazakhstan” off my list, and I think I’m spoiled by the moments of brilliance in this horror comedy gem.

Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It, directed by Yernar Nurgaliev, does admittedly start off as a bit WIFE BAD: Dastan (Daniyar Alshinov) is starting to get sick of his nagging pregnant wife Zhanna (Asel Kaliyeva) who is about to pop and, frankly, I don’t blame her for being a tad irritable since pregnancy is never some fucking walk in the park and should be given the immense respect and reverence it deserves (especially if someone is choosing to carry your kid). With questionable timing, Dastan decides to go on a fishing trip with his mates as one last hurrah, even though Zhanna’s almost ready to give birth.

But that’s fine from a storytelling standpoint so we can laugh guiltlessly at the subsequent unfortunate events that befall the group: First, none of these fucking morons knows the first thing about fishing (one of them hooks their own ear and practically cleaves it in two); then they witness a gang murder; then, while they’re running from that, a one-eyed survivalist starts hunting them all down in increasingly gruesome ways.

I enjoyed this immensely. Yes, the humour is puerile (fart jokes, sex dolls), but there’s also quite a lot of heart, with musings on brotherhood and even a minor dig at toxic masculinity (though I wished it had leant in on the positives of fatherhood and how Dastan would want to be a better person/husband/father).

In terms of the horror, the film’s not afraid to get cartoonishly, absurdly gory, with what I assume to be some (impressively grisly) practical effects as the violence ups its own ante. But it’s the humour that’s where this film’s strengths lie: much of the violence, physical comedy and set-pieces are choreographed together like a Rube Goldberg machine on a theatre stage; there’s one genuinely tense scene that puts the cop car from Scream 2 to shame, but it also somehow manages to be absolutely hilarious at the exact same time. A large part of this is due to the Yerlan Primbetov as Murat, one of Dastan’s friends, who is an instantly likable, well-meaning, pint-sized Eurasian The Rock who fancies himself as a hero cop. The only real negative is that the middle act’s overlong shots making it feel like a bit of a slog, but I’d pit this as a great choice for a fun, silly, entertaining group viewing.

Score: πŸŽƒπŸŽƒπŸŽƒπŸŽƒ

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